Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Balanced Approach to Problem Solving: Elephant Analogy

|"When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail."

Post written by Anshul Gupta. Follow me on twitter.

Let me explain, what is an Elephant Analogy?

It is basically a way of looking at things, which is quite narrow in its scope. The analogy with the elephant is that; once a person what asked to identify the parts of an elephant, by touching them one by one.He was not told that its an elephant neither he was allowed to see it. When he touched the leg of the elephant, he said, "It's a pillar!". When he touched the stomach, he said, "It's a wall!". And when he touched the tail, he said, "It's a rope!!!". But when he was allowed to see, nevertheless it had to be an elephant!

Similarly, Consultants tend to suggest solution and then try to fit that solution into the given problem, without truly understanding the problem from its roots. When you go to a marketing consultant, he would suggest a marketing strategy, when you go to a SCM consultant, he would suggest a SCM strategy, and if the SCM consultant is into IT, he would make sure that you end-up implementing a new ERP software!

My whole point is that, there is a need to perceive an elephant as an elephant and not through its body parts. In the absence of an integrated approach, different stake holders look at the same problem quite differently. This leads to chaos, confusion and people pulling in different directions. Many problems that are encountered today are the outcomes of this narrow sub-systems thinking. A transformational change of mind-set would look at the problems in its totality. This will lead to a balanced approach to development.

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Ghost of Large number of Choices

Post written by Anshul Gupta. Follow me on twitter.

Are we being fooled by large number of choices that we face today? Andy Andrews; an inspirational author and speaker, once said, "The greatest power ever bestowed upon mankind is the power of choice. Choose to persist without exception. Hold fast to your dreams and stay the course, even in the face of exhaustion, rejection, and uncertainty." But that same power of choice is weakening us today while we consider our decision making abilities. Because we no longer have requisite number of choices, instead we have what I call flooding of choices....

For example, we know that in reality there is no scientific difference between Coke and Pepsi, but we tend to perceive them as different. We have so many choices in so many fields that it has now become a major cause of bad decision making. See the video (below) and this point would become more clear:

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